They say time travel is not possible. My mind and body disagree. I am currently sitting at my gate of the Dubai International Airport. It still remains one of the most elegant airports I have flown through. It is still sleek, clean, shiny and fully equipped with a spa, hotel, gym, grocery stores and all the high-end fashion designer goods. To burn a few moments of my eight-hour layover, I took a look at the last blogpost I wrote from this same location (two years ago). There is so much the same, and yet so much that is very different.
International flights continue to tangle up my mind. Somewhere between here and Seattle, I flew over Sunday. Like last time, I was served dinner on the flight shortly after takeoff from Seattle. What seemed like moments later, I was served breakfast and shortly thereafter we landed in time for dinner in Dubai. I almost feel like I was robbed of the chance to eat all my daily meals. My computer (which hasn't caught up with my location) says the time is 11:50AM; here the clocks read 11:50PM. I think I should be sleeping now, but sleep won’t come easy for a while. Things on the mind, ya know?
Last time I was here I had a lot of the unknowns keeping me from rest. Things like:
- · I didn't know a soul in Southern India where I was to be living for the next three months.
- · I didn't know how I would tend to the basic daily necessities of life (getting three squares, etc).
- · I didn't know what patient interactions would be like in the hospital I would be studying at.
- · I didn't know the local language.
Today as I sit here those unknowns are either irrelevant, or at the very least, far less intimidating then they were those two plus years ago.
- · This time I know many people in Vellore. In fact, that is probably the one of the things that excites me most about returning… seeing my friends that I haven’t seen in over two years.
- · This time I (sort of) know how I’m going to tend to the basic needs of life. I will take meals at the canteen and with my hostesses (dear friends from my first trip).
- · This time I know what patient interactions will be like. I will be assigned a patient or two (or adopt them of my own will) and proceed to get creative. Depending on whether or not they speak English, I will as some point, no doubt, make a fool of myself trying to communicate with them. And everyone will laugh. Including me.
- · This time I still don’t know the language, BUT I know a few words and will attempt to take them off the top shelf of my brain and dust them so that I can resume perfecting the pronunciations. I still have “English le pesu!” fresh on the tongue for when I need it.
The list of items I was confident in the last time I traveled to India remains fairly steady:
- · I know this will be another experience of a life time. India has always been a game-changer for me and I pretty much expect this trip to live up to that reputation in some way, shape, or form.
- · I know I will not regret this experience.
- · I know this is what I am supposed to be doing right now.
Ok, that last item has a caveat attached to it. I know this is where I am supposed to be because I still am an individual who has put her faith in the Lord Jesus. And I still whole-heartedly believe that my Savior has a plan for my life. He has a plan. For my life. My Savior is a planner. He has provided for me this far. He has given me the desire to return to India, despite its lack of creature comforts. He has given me a heart for India. I know He has brought me here for some purpose. I continue pray that I have the courage, faith, and heart to say “yes” to whatever challenges He has planned for me ahead. I continue to pray that I can serve Him, be His hands and feet, spreading His love with abandon on those He has sent me to serve. So yes, I’m confident that I am supposed to be right here. In Dubai. Sitting alone at gate A9 waiting to board a flight back to India.
What I don’t know is the “why?” Of course the easy answer is, “because I’m spending two weeks volunteering at the CMC rehab hospital as an occupational therapist.” That is the answer I had been giving people who asked, “What are you going there for?” That is, until Saturday afternoon when a dear woman asked me that very question yet again. I opened my mouth to give my rehearsed “to volunteer” answer, but “I don’t know” slipped out instead. And that would be the honest truth. I don’t know why I’m returning to India. Sure, I have dreamed of this day since I left India in April of 2013. I completely enjoy the life experiences of living in India. I love putting my occupational therapy skills and creativity to work in a culture with fewer resources than what I’m accustom to. But “because I want to” isn't the right answer, “to volunteer” isn't the complete answer, and “to visit friends” isn't the only reason. The truth is: I don’t know.
Who on earth decides she is going to pack her bags and go visit India alone (two years ago)? And what kind of person continues to go back? This girl does. This girl who isn't afraid to travel alone, try new foods, wear different clothes, or live outside a comfort-zone for a while. This girl who has a mystifying love for India, and a craving to experience it more. I don’t know why. I just do. I just go. And I go in faith that at some point in time He will make it clear why I go-- faith that He will show me why I keep coming back. I will go with my God.
Maybe this trip will be the last. Maybe it will be the trip that “cures” me of my India addiction. Or maybe it will be one of the first of many more to come. Maybe I will come back with a more complete answer to the “why” question. God only knows. And God is good, and He has a good plan for my life… India or not.
“…walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8
“…’for I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord…” Jeremiah 29:11
Fun fact: Yet another thing I didn't know upon arrival was how to charge my computer in the UAE plugins with my Indian plug adapter. A kind airport employee taught me how. You have to stick a pen into the top slot of the three-slot outlet and “unlock” the bottom two slots to receive a two pronged plug. Seems contrary to what I learned as a child… “never stick anything into an electrical outlet!” Suffice to say, I haven’t burnt down the airport nor have I electrocuted myself.